Weekly Pay for Town Employees

The closest vote by far in the last year for the Chapel Hill Town Council was the vote to authorize the manager to pursue a plan for changing all town employees to a biweekly payroll.  The vote was 5-4.   Around 200+ town employees have had weekly checks for years, some for the span of their whole career with the town.  Last night at our budget hearing many of those employees came out and spoke against the change. 

One of the interesting parts to this was the $50 gas card that was offered to employees that would switch to the biweekly in an expedited manner.  I read about that in the Town of Chapel Hill employee newsletter, and had not heard about that offering in a council meeting or in any managerial email.

Some undoubtedly liked that, some really hated the idea.   See the story in today’s Herald and the N&O.

I think that an option to change is the way to go.  Town employees that want to have the weekly checks should keep that, and those that are willing to change to biweekly can do so.  I think that the moving so many long time workers from weekly to biweekly pay can be too much of a lifestyle change, different from what they have come to expect over the years, and they have the right to continue to receive their pay as they have been used to over these years.   The Town of Chapel Hill is not like every city in the nation, and it is not a corporation.  At least I don’t think it is or should be.  Another great thing the Town does, that the town pays greatly for, is the continuation of private health insurance after an employee retires.  That is a great benefit.  Many cities do not have this option for their employees.  It’s just one of those things that makes us unique, and a nice place to work.  All of our citizens benefit from the great work of our employees, and I certainly want to make them happy.

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4 responses to “Weekly Pay for Town Employees

  1. Council got a very thoughtful and helpful letter from Roger Stancil this morning about payroll changes. It follows:
    “I thought it might be useful to clarify a few points based on the comments at the public hearing last night about the proposed payroll process changes.
    The payroll process changes were proposed by Finance Department staff and other departmental payroll processing staff as an innovation that would improve processing efficiency, reduce overtime in the Finance Department and reduce errors in employee paychecks. We first believed there would be a budget implication for the Town in changing these processes, therefore it was proposed during budget discussions. We have subsequently found a way to implement the proposed changes without requiring budget action. The end result being that this decision does not have to be made in the midst of the budget process.
    I interpreted your vote on this matter when it was discussed to be approval to begin working on the proposal. For me, that included meeting with employees to ensure they had good information and to seek their suggestions in making these changes with minimal disruption to them. The $50 gas card, for example, was a suggestion that came from our employees and I agreed that such an incentive to voluntarily change would be acceptable to me. Another suggestion made by employees in our discussions with them was the delay of implementation of a shift from weekly to biweekly paychecks until February instead of August as originally proposed. Again, I agreed that this was a good suggestion.
    I have met with groups of employees personally to discuss these changes and solicit their ideas. A committee of employees has met with many more groups to provide information and seek suggestions.
    I have promised that I will communicate to employees what recommendations I will make to Council. I recently sent you a written communication I sent to employees about the matter. Certainly, no action will occur until we discuss this matter again.
    If you have any questions or suggestions, please give me a call. I welcome your perspective.”

  2. Laurin, I suggested consolidating on a common timing during the budget discussions several years ago. The finance department made a decent case, at that time, that having one process would save a fair chunk of change and reduce errors.

    Did staff present a specific cost savings associated with consolidation (sorry, haven’t had time to watch the latest meetings)?

  3. Good question. As discussed in our budget work session the other day, staff is in fact coming up with the numbers to justify their suggested change. It is due back either our next business meeting or next work session.

  4. hmmmm…very interesting!
    Thanks google

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